Aubrey Beardsley

Aubrey Beardsley

Style: Art Nouveau

Lived: August 21, 1872 - March 16, 1898 (19th century)

Nationality: United Kingdom

Aubrey Vincent Beardsley was born in Brighton, England August 21, 1872

Beardsley was aligned with the Yellow Book coterie of artists and writers, and produced many illustrations for the magazine. He was also closely aligned with Aestheticism, the British counterpart to the Decadence movement and Symbolism.

Most of his images are drawn in ink, and feature large dark areas contrasting with large blank ones, and areas of fine detail contrasted with areas with none at all.

Aubrey Beardsley was one of the most controversial artist of the Art Nouveau era, renowned for his dark and erotic images. His most famous erotic illustrations were on themes of history and mythology, including his illustrations for Lysistrata and Salomé.

Beardsley was a close friend of Oscar Wilde and illustrated his play Salomé in 1893 for its French release; it was released in English the following year. He also produced extensive illustrations for books and magazines and worked for magazines like The Savoy and The Studio.

Beardsley was also a caricaturist and even did some political cartoons, mirroring Wilde's irreverent wit in art. Beardsley's work reflected the decadence of the era and he was of great influence to the work of the French Symbolists, the Poster Art Movement of the 1890s and the work of many later-period Art Nouveau artists like Pape, Mucha and Clarke.

Beardsley was a public character as well as a private eccentric. He said, "I have one aim — the grotesque. If I am not grotesque I am nothing." Wilde said he had "a face like a silver hatchet, and grass green hair."

Although Beardsley was aligned with the homosexual group that included Oscar Wilde and other English aesthetes, the details of Beardsley's sexuality remain unknown. Speculation about the artist's sexuality include the rumors of an incestuous relationship with his elder sister, Mabel, who may have borne his miscarried child.

Beardsley died of tuberculosis in Menton, France at the age of 25 on March 16, 1898.

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